Home Medical Transcription - A Decent Living or a Scam?
By Stephen Bucaro
No doubt you have seen many ads by medical transcription schools claiming that
you can make big money typing medical transcription at home. Can you really
make a good living doing medical transcription at home, or is it just another
scam? In this article, you'll learn the honest facts about home medical transcription.
Can you really make a decent living doing home medical transcription? Yes and no.
Yes - Many people are earning $50,000 to $80,000 or more per year typing
medical transcription at home. They work where they want, when they want, and as
much as they want. The amount of medical transcription work that needs to be done
FAR exceeds the available transcribers to do the work. When I say the demand exceeds
the supply, I mean the situation is desperate.
No - Reading a few booklets and listening to a few tapes will not make you
into an instant $50,000 per year medical transcriptionist. If you're not ready to
commit to between six months and a year of hard study and practice, find another
means of earning a living.
Typing medical transcription is not like typing a letter to your mother. It's
far more challenging. Below are some of the challenges you must be prepared to meet.
1. You must have a good understanding of medical terminology. You need to know
how to spell the names of the latest medical conditions, drugs, medical tests,
treatments, and procedures, and just knowing how to spell them is not enough.
Because of challenge number 2 described below, you need to have some familiarity with
medical conditions and what tests, drugs, and treatments are related to that
condition. It's difficult to learn this with a mail order medical transcription
course. This type of knowledge comes from experience.
• You don't need to be familiar with ALL medical terminology. Many
transcriptionists specialize in specific areas such as gastroenterology or ophthalmology.
However, when you want to go on vacation, you'll need someone else to take over your work
while you're gone. In reciprocation, you'll need to cover for someone else when they go
on vacation, and they may be transcribing to a different field than you are familiar with.
2. You need to be able to extract the transcription from a noisy electronic
recording. Unfortunately, many doctors mumble, garble, don't enunciate, don't
speak up, or talk too fast when they dictate. Combine the above problems with
a thick, foreign accent and you can have real dificulty understanding what the
doctor is saying. In many instances, the only way you will be able to decipher
what the doctor is saying is if you are familiar with medical conditions and
what tests, drugs, and treatments are related to that condition.
• Doctors dictate "on the fly". They don't have time to think about proper
sentence construction as the words emanate from their mouth. Frequently the sentence they
started doesn't make any sense or has an error by the time they get to the end.
Do you edit what the doctor said, or just type the jiberish as dictated? Usually
a doctor appreciates when you clean up their dictation. On the other hand, medical
document are often presented as evidence in legal actions. You're taking on liability
if you change what the doctor actually said.